MINI Rocketman gets green light for production

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 19, 2011

The latest model from MINI may soon be its best-selling one as there has been an unprecedented demand for compact cars amid stricter emissions standards and rising fuel prices. What this new baby MINI seeks to prove is that drivers don’t need to sacrifice fun and style for low running costs.

The ‘mini’ MINI is based on the Rocketman concept introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in early 2011. As part of the expansion plans, MINI will make a new entry point that will mark the start of a new era.

MINI will also offer a new lineup of three-cylinder engines, the extensive use of lightweight materials, as well as an all-electric version. From these images, the public gets an idea of what the MINI is expected to look.

Fans of the 60s model will be glad to see this pint-sized car on the road. Compared to the original, this ‘mini’ MINI is 40cm longer and 50cm wider.

Its engineers aim to make the production car no bigger than the concept. MINI is intent on optimizing the space; in fact, it has a 3+1 seating layout like that of the Toyota iQ.

There will be four seats but the seat located at the back of the driver is only suitable for short trips. If more room is required, the instrument cluster can move backwards and forwards with the steering wheel.

A feature that is retained from the concept is the dual-function boot, which includes a conventional compartment accessed through a hatch with a drawer-like storage area below it. Another item from MINI that will soon go into production is the centrally mounted ‘Coke can’ exhaust.

The study is an innovative and systematic implementation of lightweight design principles and a signature interior style aimed at providing an unmatched driving experience with unprecedented versatility. The MINI Rocketman Concept’s carbon spaceframe construction minimises weight and the material is strikingly evident at the front end, around the doors and its interior. The car truly embodies the definition of efficiency. In fact, a special drive system can be integrated to enable greater acceleration and speed while only consuming three litres of petrol per 100 km (94 mpg).

Double-hinged joints allow the MINI Rocketman Concept’s doors to open wide for easy entry. The seats are lightweight and feature the unique MINI contour. These can also be rearranged in various ways to allow a two-up layout for extreme fun driving, a spaciously comfortable three-passenger arrangement or a four-seat accommodation with excellent space allocation.

Similarly, the luggage compartment is just as adaptable for varying capacities. The tailgate is composed of one part hinged to the roof that opens high upward, and a lower part that is pulled out from the body like a drawer.

The MINI Rocketman Concept is also engineered to be operated according to the specific layered demands of the modern consumer, whose mobility requirements are influenced by their priority for fun driving, practical versatility and synchronicity with their general lifestyles. The central control unit can be temporarily removed and hooked up to a computer to update navigation information, sync mobile contact details and upload media/entertainment files prior to any journey.

Trademark MINI body design in a concentrated form.

The MINI Rocketman Concept’s body design can be described as an avant-garde reinterpretation of the classic MINI features. The latest construction methods and technologies enable the designers to maximise spaciousness within the most compact overall dimensions. This was also the classic MINI’s design principle, but it has been adapted for the challenges of 21st century urban mobility. The MINI Rocketman Concept is 3.419 metres (about 11 ft. 3 in.) long, which is just a few centimetres more than its 1959 ancestor. Width, inclusive of the wing mirrors is 1.907 metres (around 6 ft. 3 in.), and height is 1.398 metres (roughly 4 ft. 7 in). Its proportions are derived from both the classic Mini and the current MINI line-up. Therefore, the signature MINI physical attributes are clearly set in its new dimensions, making this new vehicle segment prototype clearly identifiable as a MINI.

Topics: mini, production

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